Wednesday, July 31, 2013

DreamWorks Animation, Television Division

Part II.

DreamWorks Animation has tapped former Nickelodeon executive Marjorie Cohn as its first head of television, overseeing the production and development of the studio's new TV group.

During her 26-year tenure at Viacom's Nickelodeon, Cohn was involved in the creation and production of some of the industry's most successful children's programs, including "SpongeBob SquarePants," "Rugrats," "iCarly" and the Kids' Choice Awards.

In her new job at DreamWorks Animation, Cohn will head up a new TV team at the Glendale-based studio that will develop and produce 1,200 hours of original episodes over the next five years. This production slate will feature TV series that are based on DreamWorks’ current franchises, future films and the most popular heritage properties from Classic Media, which DreamWorks acquired last year. ...

Good news long-term. DreamWorks Animation had a television division eighteen years ago, headquartered in Encino on Ventura Boulevard. That first t.v. division was headed up by Gary Krisel (former head of Disney TVA) but did not last long. The syndication and broadcast markets were changing as it came into existence, and after a couple of series orders DreamWorks Animation Television Uno faded from view.

Back back in the present era, I was this afternoon over at DreamWEorks Animation's Glendale campus, where a new round of feature layoffs have been happening and morale is not upbeat. As one employee said to me:

"I survived 'D Day' [the DWA layoffs that happened early in the year] and H.R. told me that I was good to stay. But now that I'm near the end of my assignment, they're telling me I won't swing onto another picture after all. So I'm getting let go along with other people in my department."

I told the staffer that things change, and it would be good if H.R. could follow through on earler promises, but circumstances change. (Turbo?) I said that at the turn of the century, Disney's animation top-kick Tom Schumacher told a lot of Feature Animation employees that there would be no more department-wide layoffs, that everybody still gainfully employed at the division were safe, and then ...

There were more layoffs.

So it happens. And it usually makes for bruised feelings sour outlooks, but that's the movie bizz: There is often a generous dollop of "It's a business" inside the "We're a family!" happy talk.

In the meantime:

--Dreamworks(DWA_) beat Wall Street estimates as profits surged 75% thanks to The Croods worldwide.

Dreamworks jumped 1.93% to close Wednesday trading at $24.76, extending the animation studio's 2013 advance to 48% this year to date, surpassing the S&P 500 which has tacked on 19% this year.

Second-quarter revenue was expected to climb 16% to $188.9 million, or 20 cents a share, from $162.8 million, or 15 cents.

However, Dreamworks was able to outstrip the forecasts by reporting $213.4 million in revenue. Net income rose to $22.3 million, or 26 cents a share, from $12.8 million, or 15 cents a share. Much of the success in attributed to The Croods. The film brought in $583.9 million worldwide to date, contributing $71.8 million to this quarter's revenue. ...


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